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Arutiunova-Fidanian Viada

Christianization as a stage in the development of Armenia's civilization


Arutiunova-Fidanian Viada (2016) "Christianization as a stage in the development of Armenia's civilization ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2016, vol. 49, pp. 9-23 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII201649.9-23

Abstract

In this article the author discusses means and opportunities, as well as the timeframe of the preliminary stage of the civilization convergence using the evidence of the interactions between the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and Armenia. These countries originally both used to represent different civilizational types, Graeco-Roman and Iranian-Transcaucasian respectively — the premise which would exclude, as it might seem, any possibility of creating a common inter-space, or contact zone, between them. However, such contact zone began to form already in the sixth and seventh centuries and reached its highpoint in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The starting point for this civilizational rapprochement should be seen already in the third century when certain political and religious factors led to gradual alienation of Armenia from the Iranian world. In other words, one may assert that there are compelling results of a successful dialogue between the two states and cultures despite the initial unlikelihood that such a dialogue could even occur. In the early fourth century Armenia converted to Christianity, but pagan beliefs and practices endured for a long time among elite and non-elite people alike. The adoption of Christianity not only as a state, but also a folk religion, and further distancing of Armenia from the Iranian world became possible only after the emergence of the Armenian alphabet and literature. Translators of the so called Hellenizing school introduced to their nation works on liturgics, philosophy, rhetoric and science, thus covering the educational palette of the Middle Ages. The Hellenophile translators also composed original works in Armenian. Armenian historical prose might be considered the beginning of the Christian historiography. The defense of their faith and customs, resistance to the cultural and religious assimilation in the work of the vardapets went along with their struggle for the independence and revival of the ancient Armenian kingdom.

Keywords

the Byzantine Empire, Iran, Armenia, the Greco-Roman and Iranian-Transcaucasian civilizations, the civilization types, the civilizational convergence, christianization, creating of written language, the national historiography of the 5th century, the Hel

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Arutiunova-Fidanian Viada